incredible-marketing Arrow

5 Tips for Remaining Sober at Family Gatherings

It is that time of year when family gatherings are being planned and people are excited to see you. This can be a challenge for you in recovery. You have gone through months of readjusting to your newfound life without relying on substances and are loving how far you have come.

For many people, spending time with family can be stressful. Whether your family is supportive or unsupportive, remaining sober at family gatherings can be a challenge. You may decide to continue to avoid socializing with your family. However satisfying that may seem, at some point, you will have to face them.​​ Here are five tips for remaining sober at family gatherings.

#1. Give Yourself an Out at Family Gatherings

The nice weather has arrived and all the invites to birthday parties, weddings, and graduation parties have begun. You find yourself overwhelmed by the invites and do not know how to politely decline. At times, you want to attend. However, you are hesitating because you value your sobriety and all the work you have put into it thus far.

Giving yourself an “out” while at a family gathering can limit the amount of time you spend there. For example, you may have to go to let your dog out or you may have a project to work on. Purposefully scheduling something to do on the same day as the family gathering gives you a reason to leave if you feel uncomfortable. An individual therapist can guide you on the most feasible exit plans to use during your recovery.

#2. Remind Yourself of Goals You Have Completed Before Family Gatherings

Before attending the family gathering, take some time and remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished during your recovery. Write all of your completed goals on paper and reflect on how far you have come. You may be leaps and bounds ahead of where you used to be. To do this, you have placed your needs first, above anyone else’s. Now is the time to remind yourself of your hard work and the upcoming goals you have in place.

You have engaged in self-exploration to become this version of yourself. This is a time to be proud of your accomplishments and all the motivation that it took to achieve sobriety.

#3. Find a Sober Support Person at a Family Gathering

Make sure that someone at the family gathering knows you are in recovery. As long as you are confident in this family member, this is a simple step that could make your family gathering easier. Remaining accountable to others is important in recovery, not just for you but for your sober support.

Having accountability will help you to stay focused on your goals and guarantee that you are doing everything you can do to achieve them. Your accountability person doesn’t have to be a family member, either. Taking a different sober support person to a family gathering may be just the accountability you need to stay on your recovery path.

#4. Know Your Triggers

One of the most significant things in recovery is learning what triggers your substance use disorder (SUD). Going to a family gathering is no exception. It is important to know the crowd you will be around and examine any potential triggers you may experience. You may want to explore what causes negative thoughts and create a plan to avoid a potential situation that may be harmful to your recovery.

When you know what triggers you, you can plan what to do when these instances occur or avoid them altogether. This decreases potential stressful situations, and you will have more time to enjoy family gatherings.

#5. Set Boundaries at Family Gatherings

Identifying and maintaining boundaries is a helpful tool to take care of yourself and the relationships in your life. When you discuss your boundary, you are setting clear limits on what you will tolerate. Setting boundaries within yourself can be especially helpful before you go to a family gathering. Some boundaries may be:

  • Personal information should remain private.
  • You don’t need to over-explain.
  • Your emotions are valid.
  • Your belief system matters.
  • Remember you have the right to say no.
  • Know that you can ask for help.

You will know what you will tolerate and what is absolutely off the table at family gatherings. Spending time with family can be challenging during recovery. However, you have the power to overcome difficult times by deciding upon your boundaries beforehand.

Try an Alumni Program

Sometimes you may need the power of connection within recovery. At The Guest House, we offer an alumni program that can provide the support you have been searching for. You will always have new experiences and be learning how to adjust to your sober life. This can be challenging. Participating in an alumni program will ease those challenges and provide the support you deserve.

Stay Grateful

At The Guest House, we believe that recovery from a life of SUD is a journey. As the road twists and turns, some moments will feel like a wonderful stroll while others will feel like a rough voyage. In treatment, you learned to incorporate healthy coping skills that will assist you as obstacles arise. Being grateful is one skill you can use to unlock new pleasures in your recovery.

In all things, be grateful. Gratitude starts with a thought and ends with a satisfying feeling. The space of gratitude is all about staying positive within recovery and looking at circumstances with a mindful thought process. This is one of the most important tools. However, it can be hard to practice at times.

Gratitude leads to happiness within recovery. When you are focused on the present and extending gratitude, you can be happy about what you have accomplished. When you are faced with challenges and difficult emotions, gratitude will help you stay centered and motivated.

Family gatherings can be stressful events, especially when you’re in recovery. You may not know all of the situations that will occur, but you can prepare for them beforehand. Taking time beforehand to think about the goals that you have reached can decrease any stressors that may arise. Although you cannot dictate your future, you have a skill set that can put boundaries in place within your recovery. At The Guest House, we are honored that you would choose us to guide you in your sobriety. If you or someone you know is in need of services, give us a call at (855) 483-7800 today. We will gladly help you begin or continue your journey to lifelong sobriety.